Asset sales promoted to seniors

16:00, Oct 26 2011
John Key and Nathan Guy
MAKING IT CLEAR: Prime Minister John Key and Otaki MP Nathan Guy visit seniors at the Kapiti Club, Paraparaumu.

Prime Minister John Key has tried to sell the Government's proposed asset sales policy to senior citizens on the Kapiti Coast, saying voters do not fully understand it.

Speaking to an audience of about 75 people at the Kapiti Club in Paraparaumu yesterday, Mr Key acknowledged there was opposition to National's plans to sell up to 49 per cent of four state-owned energy companies and reduce the Government's shareholding in Air New Zealand.

"If you've been driving around Wellington you might have seen a few signs which say `Stop Asset Sales'," he told them, adding that a repeat of the sales to foreigners during the 1980s was not needed now.

"If that was what we were proposing in 2011, I would be opposed. Unlike the mid-80s, we are not selling assets holus bolus."

National would use the estimated $5 billion to $7b the sales would generate to buy other assets. "At the end of this process we will own more assets, not less, but the mix will be different."

He conceded some would always be concerned about asset sales, but said later that it was important to understand what the Government wanted to do.

"They don't fully understand what we're doing. My experience is when I take audiences through it, like I did just before, no-one actually put up their hand and asked a question."

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